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Futuris moves to deal with grievances

FUTURIS Corp has been forced to make special arrangements for several hundred WA shareholders who missed out on a special allocation in fancied float Australian Agricultural Co.

The company confirmed some shareholders had not received their application form in time to apply for their reservation of AACo stock, valued up to $2000.

The $200 million AACo is the spin off of Futuris’ extensive cattle business and is set to list next Friday after closing its prospectus

last week, earlier than expected and heav-

ily oversubscribed – with retail share-

holders paying $1 and institutions set at $1.10.

Futuris shareholders and noteholders were given a priority allocation but it seems many people in rural WA, which represents a significant element of the company’s shareholding heartland, did not receive their special forms in time.

Futuris corporate director Les Wozniczka said the company had made arrangements for shareholders who had genuinely missed out rather than those who had left their decision until it was clear demand for the shares was high.

“We have a lot of applications back from WA already but some people have been hampered by slow mail or whatever,” Mr Wozniczka said. “We have set up a grievances pool where, if there has been a genuine prob-lem, we will try to accommodate a genuine complaint.”

Mr Wozniczka said he did not know the exact number of affected shareholders but expected there would be a few hundred, scattered around the State with no apparent pattern.

He said he had yet to discover the reasons for delays in sending out the prospectuses, which were distributed by Computershare.

“Computershare have said they have done what they should have done,” Mr Wozniczka said. “That is not consistent with what shareholders are saying.”

Computershare was unable to provide a comment to Business News.

Despite its appeal to investors the AACo float, which is headed by Peter Holmes a Court, has been a colourful process with tough internal haggling to achieve the final pricing.

Mr Wozniczka said it was possible that Futuris has sold AACo too cheaply but it had been priced to float at a premium in a market where every float this year had failed.

“Have I dudded Futuris by selling too cheaply? I suppose I could be criticised for that,” he said.

“Would it have been worth trying to pull another $20 million to $30 million of value out and having a disappointing listing? No.

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